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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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i                        BYZANTINE ARCHITECTURE                       23
as if their sides were exactly equal. But in two of the oblong bays, which are nearly three times as long as they are broad, such a method could not be applied. Longitudinal arches (AA) were accordingly thrown between the transverse arches (CC) and made to rest on their spandrils. The oblong form of the intervening space was thus very much reduced, and over it flat domes are thrown. Their rings are true circles, and as the space they cover is still somewhat oblong they descend lower, with additional segments of rings (BB), at the ends than at the sides. In the remaining two oblong bays of the narthex, the result of introducing the longitudinal arches is to convert a decidedly oblong space in one direction into a slightly oblong space in the opposite direction, an additional proof, if any were needed, that the exact shape of plan with this form of vault was a matter of comparative indifference to the builder.
In S. Sophia the vault springs from the intrados of the transverse arches, that is, from the lower edge. In SS. Sergius and Bacchus it springs from a point so slightly raised as to be hardly noticeable. In the later vaults, how-ever, the transverse arches, when present, are boldly shown, and the vault springs from the extrados or outer edge (e.g. S. Saviour in the Chora, S. Theodore)*
Construction.óMost of the churches of the city are covered with thick coats of plaster and whitewash, both within and without. Only in a few cases, where these coatings have fallen away through neglect, or in some remote corner of a building to which these coatings were never applied, can the construction and the laying of the brickwork be studied. The two-storied chapel, known as Bogdan Serai (p. 283), is almost denuded of plaster, and is therefore of importance in this connection. The bricks of the wall arches on which its dome rests are laid considerably flatter than the true radiating line, leaving a triangular piece to be filled in at the crown. On the other hand, the bricks of the transverse arches under the dome radiate to the centre.
It has been supposed that the method followed in the wall arches was employed in order to economise centering, since